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Fenton allows visitors to help make ornaments

By Kate York, kyork@mariettatimes.com

The Marietta Times

Marietta, Ohio

December 13, 2004

WILLIAMSTOWN - Fenton Glass artists are known far and wide as skilled workers but on Saturday even 3-year-olds were able to make Fenton keepsakes with the aid of a holiday helper.

A special decorating workshop for children with Mrs. Claus was held at the glass factory Saturday morning, allowing 20 area children to decorate Fenton glass ornaments they could then take home.
The workshops, for those of all ages, will continue every Saturday in 2005.

"This was the first time we had a workshop just with children," said Marcie "Mrs. Claus" Petty of Saturday's event. "They seemed to have a great time and I even have a few letters to take back to Santa."

The participants were able to choose the design they wanted to paint on their glass tree ornaments using stencils and then the ornament was baked for 20 minutes.

"It was fun," said Ashley Pollard, 9, of Marietta. " I liked the painting part. We're going to put it on our tree."

Pollard said there was one problem with her ornament, decorated with a penguin wearing a Santa hat, which she was able to correct.

"I put snow under the penguin because he looked like he was floating in midair at first," she said. "That would have been silly."

Ashley's 3-year-old sister, Logan, was one of the youngest to take part in the workshop, creating a glass ornament with a colorful butterfly.

"They loved it," said their mother, Maggie Pollard. "Ashley said she was going to keep the ornament to give to her kids someday."

Though Saturday's class was aimed at children, the workshops are great for senior citizen groups, birthday parties or for individuals, said Jena Blair, centennial group coordinator for Fenton, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary beginning in January.

"Even today, we had a great variety of people," Blair said. "There were very little ones to teen-agers and we had grandparents helping their grandchildren with the ornaments and dads helping their kids make an ornament for mom. Everyone was so thrilled with their pieces."

The cost of the workshop is $25 per person or $20 for a group of 20 people or more.

"It's nice that they can have their own Fenton piece," said Petty. "They even get to use the same paint the artists use."

Maggie Pollard said she plans to hang both of her daughters' ornaments on the tree to remember the fun morning they spent making them.

"It's really nice in the holiday season to keep them busy with doing crafts rather than just eating cookies," she said. "And these are beautiful and will last forever."

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Visitors to Fenton Art Glass will find a spacious Gift Shop and a pleasant museum. Free factory tours (M-F 8:15am to 4:00pm) take small groups of guests right out to the factory floor to see glassmaking "up close and personal." Friendly, knowledgeable tour guides explain all aspects of the operation. The Fenton tour has been ranked among the "Top 10" factory tours nationwide by USA Today. In addition we have been named Rand McNally Best of the Road for 2006. For a factory tour schedule, click here. For a map, click here.


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